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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Here we go again!

Lordban

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Director: Quiet on the set! The shooting of the Führer's New Year Speech is about to begin!

Hitler: And about time too, I have-

Director: I said "Quiet on the set!"

Hitler shoots the director.

Hitler: That will teach you a lesson. Anybody else wants to interrupt me as I'm getting ready for my traditional Midnight address on January 1st, 1936?

An assistant director timidly raises a hand. Hitler promptly points his gun at him.

Assistant director: Mein Führer, please don't shoot!

Hitler: Only because you said "please". So, what's your problem, man?

Assistant director: Mein Führer, this is a Hearts of Iron IV AAR, the game begins at noon on January 1st, 1936, not midnight like in the past iterations of the series.

Hitler: Oh.

Assistant director: I thought you'd noticed.

Hitler: Why?

Assistant director: Well, it's broad daylight outside.

Hitler shoots the assistant director. The rest of the crew run away in panic.

Hitler: Good. And now, action!

* *

Very not good at following an update schedule productions proudly present



Featuring


Hitler
The director
The assistant director
Nazis
People pretending not to be Nazis
People who-are-almost-Nazis-but-not-quite
Panicking Frenchmen
Flying Dutchmen
MUSSOLINI.
And you

(If you haven't run away already.)

* *
Berlin, the Reichskanzlei. January 1st, 1936. Not midnight.

Hitler: Germans, Germans; soldiers, party comrades; Reichsministers and other assorted parasites.

Hitler clears his throat.

Hitler: Today, January the first, nineteen thirty-six; a date which will live in infamy! The United States of the Third Reich were suddenly and deliberately- who's stomping in the corridors while I'm talking?

Hitler draws his gun again, furious.

Goebbels enters the room, clearly annoyed.

Goebbels: Mein Führer, we said we have three rules for our AARs: no Downfall references, no stealing from future historical speeches, and no cats.

Hitler: I didn't make a Downfall reference!

Goebbels: No, but that line was paraphrased straight out of the speech Roosevelt plans to give on December 8th 1941.

Hitler puts away his gun and grumbles.

Hitler: At least there are no cats.

Goebbels: Take a look at where the camera is pointing.


Hitler draws his gun again.

Hitler: Where's the cameraman?

Goebbels: Hiding because he was afraid you'd shoot him?

Hitler: I am going to shoot him.

Goebbels: By the way, mein Führer, you are live on audio, if not on camera.

Hitler, mortified: Everybody heard that?

Goebbels: Yep.

Hitler: And everybody was listening to me talk while they were actually watching a cat?

Goebbels: Yep.

Hitler: It's simple, then. Everything that just happened is the cat's fault.

Goebbels: No, you aren't shooting the cat. Or the audience.

Hitler, grumbling: I know better than to try and shoot the readAARs. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a cabinet appointment.

Hitler walks over to the next chapter.

Goebbels: And he's playing BlackICE. I think I'll tell Magda to get ready to pack up and leave.

Goebbels walks out.

The cat goes to sleep.

The post ends.


* *

Seriously, the post has ended. I'm just rambling now. And about to take an actual look at the game's setup, because I have no idea what I am doing in BlackICE in HoI4, and I'm still about to be doing something really stupid.

Will this AAR feature another cat? Will Hitler start killing his own ministers? Will Germany be annexed by Luxembourg before the year is out? Find out in the next chapter, unless the Führer goes nuts - again!
 
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Moser

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Seriously, the post has ended. I'm just rambling now. And about to take an actual look at the game's setup, because I have no idea what I am doing in BlackICE in HoI4, and I'm still about to be doing something really stupid.
Yeah Black Ice is a mystery to me too. I just look at it and nope.

Funny beginning to your AAR!
 

stnylan

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Signing up the ride, and doing my best to avoid the shooting of strays...

sorry, I meant avoiding stray bullets. :D
 
Cabinet of penalties +1.

Lordban

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Moser, thanks! And yeah... This looks full of surprises and pretty daunting. And I've played very little HoI 4 and am rather bad at it even in vanilla, so this is going to be brutal :p

stnylan... Hitler: A bullet is never stray. Nor is it missing. It shoots precisely who I mean to.

* *


The German Cabinet, featuring some useful people. And Adolf Hitler.

* *
Berlin, the Reichskanzlei. January 1st, 1936. Still not midnight.

Hitler enters the cabinet room at a brisk pace. He leaves the door to last post open, because Germany is rich enough to pay for grooms to close the doors.

Hitler: Gentlemen, at the end of this session, one of you is getting shot.

Schacht: No, we're not.

Hitler: Excellent, a volunteer!

Schacht: You intend to shoot me?

Hitler: Of course.

Schacht: Oh yeah? You and what political power?



Goebbels enters and closes the door himself, because even paid grooms have good survival instincts.

Hitler: Joseph, have you heard the news? I can't shoot my ministers! It's preposterous!

Goebbels: New iteration of the game, new rules.

Hitler: But my rule is supposed to be absolute! How is the Führer supposed to rule Germany if he can't shoot his ministers?

Göring: The Hitler in this AAR has a one-track mind...

Goebbels: Write any complaints to podcat.

Göring: I tried. He's not even been on the last three World War Wednesdays.

Hitler: I see we aren't bothering with the fourth wall this year.

Goebbels, reasonably: You knew it was going to get shredded before the day was over. Also, could you put away that gun? It's only the second post, and we're already running out of extras.

Hitler grumbles and puts the gun away.

Hitler: Alright, since we aren't even trying, gentlemen, care to tell the audience what your jobs are in this cabinet?

Von Neurath: Sure thing. I'm the Foreign Minister. I give a worthless boost to trade opinion, considering we're going to invade everybody and their mothers anyway, and a cosmetic amount of political power.

Hitler: I preferred you when you were a compassionate gentleman.

Von Neurath, shrugging: I got hit by the nerf bat.

Himmler: Do I really need to explain what my job is?

Goebbels: You could explain why you're costing us a 5% penalty to political power, for starters.



Hitler, annoyed: I only give a 4% bonus to political power in BlackICE, this really is inconvenient. At least I compensate for all the National Unity you cost us.

Himmler: You aren't getting rid of me anytime soon, Adolf, deal with it.

Hitler:


Göring: And he complains about breaching the fourth wall...

Hitler: At least Canaris has a lot of useful bonuses.

Canaris: Codebreaker. And anticommunist. And Nazi.

Fritsch: No, you're not.

Hitler: Schacht only buffs civilian and resource industry in this version, I preferred him when he gave +10% IC.

Schacht: You're already thinking up reasons to shoot me, aren't you?

Hitler: No, I'm not.

Göring: Yes, he is.

Hitler: I had almost forgotten about you! What's the debuff you're giving that's going to justify dozens of fat jokes in yet another AAR?

Göring: -8% factory and dockyard output. Can I go back to the German Risk AAR now?

Hitler: No, you can't. Rudolf, what do you do?

Hess:


Hitler: Oh, right. Silent Workhorse.

Hess: No, I'm not. I'm a Loyal Fascist Political Zealot.

Goebbels: You almost sound like a Dungeons and Dragons character. What's your level?

Hess: Don't be silly, I don't have a level, this is Hearts of Iron IV.

Hitler: I'm beginning to wonder.

Hess: I'm a +7 politician equipped with a horn of fascism +1.

Hitler: Joseph, do I also need 150 political power to shoot myself?...

Goebbels: Can only remove you by event or by another party gaining power.

Hitler, grumbling: Over my not-dead body. What does Fritsch do? Is he useless like Himmler?

Fritsch, indignant: I beg your pardon! I buff our troops' defense by 10%!

Hitler: I rest my case. Beck, what do you do?

Beck: I'm a general of organization +8.

Göring: He's also a troll.

Beck, shrugging: Still more useful than being an admiral in Germany.

Raeder: Hey!

Hitler: He's right, you don't give any bonuses to U-bootes, and with the disparity between the Kriegsmarine and the Royal Navy it's not +10% to capital ships you need to give, but +250%. Did I miss anybody?

Göring: Yeah, I'm the only guy who shows up twice in the cabinet. And I even give a useful bonus as chief of air force.

Hitler: Do you, now?

Göring: I'm a Reichsmarschall of air superiority +10.

Hitler sighs.

Hitler: Et tu, Hermann?

Fritsch: Are we playing Italy today?

Canaris kicks Fritsch under the table.

Fritsch: Ouch, that hurts! And we didn't ask Goebbels what he does.

Goebbels: Commentary.

Fritsch: Does that give bonuses?

Goebbels: I'm a Minister of Annoying Hitler +12.

Hitler: I hate you all.

* *

Does Hitler really hate all his ministers? Is he going to give Blondie a seat on his government? Don't find out in the next update, as I freak out about the reasons why Germany begins with 92 military factories!
 
Last edited:
I have a cunning plan™ (or not).

Lordban

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* *
Berlin, the Reichskanzlei. January 1st, 1936. If you still haven't figured out it's not midnight, you haven't been paying attention.

Now that Hitler is done sulking, we can get down to the business of running Germany.

Hitler: Hjalmar, you're the guy who's supposed to know things about economy, and the guy I can't shoot. Why don't you explain our situation?

Schacht: Sure. Germany in BlackICE is in an excellent starting position industrially, sporting a total of 162 production factories. We're a little short on the naval side of things, with only 10 dockyards, but we have 92 military factories, which is more than the two American continents combined, and 60 civilian factories for trade, consumer goods and building more factories.

Hitler, delighted: Deutschland über alles! Tell me we are producing panzers by the thousands!

Schacht and Beck look at each other.

Schacht: Do you want to explain to him how supplying an army works?

Beck: We could always ask Fritsch to do it.

Fritsch vigorously shakes his head to say "no".

Hitler, impatiently: So, are we producing thousands of panzers?

Schacht: Not exactly.



Hitler: What the hell is this supposed to be?

Schacht: Our production interface.

Hitler: I know, but what the hell do we need all that for?

Schacht: To efficiently supply and expand a modern army, mein Führer.

Hitler: But... But... That makes absolutely no sense! We're building six different types of artillery and four types of infantry equipment alone! And don't get me started about support, why isn't that all wrapped up in simple and streamlined production lines?

Canaris: He complains, but at least we can produce all types of equipment we need. France barely have half as many factories as the number of equipment types they need to supply and reinforce what they have at game start.

Hitler: We're even producing cavalry equipment. CAVALRY! How is the world ever going to take us seriously if they see us fielding horsemen against their tanks?

Pilsudski: I heard that!

Goebbels: I thought I'd closed the door in the last update.

Pilsudski: ... I didn't hear that.

Goebbels: Better.

Hitler: Gentlemen, this situation cannot be allowed to stand.

Beck: He's going to do something stupid, isn't he?

Schacht: Give him a chance.

Hitler: Therefore, I order the immediate disbanding of all German units using horses, effective right the hell now! Never again shall a single horse be employed in the Wehrmacht, that's a Führerbefehl!

Beck: I knew he was going to do something stupid.

Hitler: And now, gentlemen, let's invade Poland!

Beck: With what?



Hitler: What exactly is that supposed to be?

Beck: The entirety of our army after we disbanded everything that used horses for their artillery.

Hitler: Then let's just build motorized divisions.

Beck: Are we really not allowed to build divisions based on templates that include horses?

Hitler: Of course we aren't allowed. Who takes horses seriously? This is 1936, we're mechanical men!

Beck: Then no, we can't build motorized divisions. We don't have army experience, we can't set up new templates.

Hitler: So, what's the problem?

Beck: That's the problem.



Hitler: Oh.

Schuschnigg: Can I anschluss you, now?

Hitler: Oh, shut up.

Canaris: At least, there's an upside to this situation.

Hitler: What upside?

Canaris: France won't mind us remilitarizing the Rhineland if all we have is three divisions and a few garrisons.

Hitler: You shut up too.

* *

Will the Führer ever understand logistics? Will Germany be invaded by Austria? Don't find out in the next episode of The Führer Goes Nuts! (again), as we've just unpaused the game and nothing's going to be happening for a while!
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Chortling all the way through.
 
Spanish Civil Exploit.

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If I can make a few people chortle, it will be worth losing miserably in the end :p

* *
Hitler's office; July 20th, 1936.

Beck and Neurath enter the office. Hitler is sitting there pretending to do important things, but he's really doing the Völkischer Beobachter's crosswords.

Hitler: What is the meaning of this interruption?

Neurath: Spain, mein Führer. They've started a civil war.

Hitler: They start a civil war every other year, I don't see why that's important.

Beck: Well, our soldiers are bored.

Hitler: You tell me that every time we talk.

Beck: I'm not the one who demobilized the entire Wehrmacht over a few horses and then deleted the division templates.

Hitler: Must you?

Beck: Yes, I must.

Hitler: We kept the soldiers busy marching in the Rhineland in civilian clothes and waving "heil" over at the Maginot Line, can't you find something similar for the men to do?

Neurath: Like the Spanish Civil War?

Hitler: How exactly are we going to send men to participate in the Spanish Civil War? It's BlackICE, you need at least 40 divisions in the field, and some idiot listened to me when I joked about disbanding the Wehrmacht.

Beck: Actually, we have 71 divisions in the field.



Hitler: What?

Beck: It should be 73, but we've already sent two Panzer-divisions under Manstein to Spain.

Hitler: Wait a minute, how do we even have 71 divisions? I told you we couldn't field anything which has horses.

Beck: To be fair, most of them aren't real divisions, but they look good on stat sheets. And they confuse the hell out of the Allies' intelligence services.

Hitler: How did we even manage that?

Beck: By annexing a number of city police forces into feldgendarmes and giving back a few guns and uniforms to soldiers garrisoned at local barracks.


We can totally win World War 2 with those.

Hitler: Alright. And when do we get a real army?

Beck: When we get enough army experience to start designing real divisions, and that's going to take a while at the current rate.



Neurath: That's where I come in.

Hitler: I thought you were a diplomat, not a general.

Neurath: I told you, mein Führer, we have the Spanish civil war.

Hitler: Yes, Manstein's two divisions are going to be gaining a little extra combat experience, but that's never going to be enough. A good division design from scratch costs around a hundred XP, even I know that much.

Neurath: That's why I've sent equipment to the Spaniards.



Hitler: How exactly is that going to help?

Neurath: It's simple. We give the Spaniards weapons and equipment, they use it in battle, they get killed, and we gain the army experience from the equipment.

Hitler: Does that actually work?

Beck: It does.

Hitler: Isn't that a little cheesy?

Beck: Well, someone disbanded the Wehrmacht. Kind-of had to find a way around that.

Hitler, grumbling: My Third Reich for 150 political power.

Beck: I noticed you didn't instantly disband the event-formed SS units that had horses in them.

Neurath: Himmler said he's found a solution to that problem.

Beck: What kind of solution?

Hitler: Not the Spanish Civil War again, I hope.

Neurath: No. He said Göring ate the horses.

* *

Will the Spanish win their civil war? (Some of them will.) Will Germany ever build real divisions? What's a real division even supposed to look like in BlackICE? Don't find out the answer to the last question in the next update!
 

stnylan

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I think that Göring fellow must be French to eat so many horses :D

(not sure if this joke "translates")
 

Moser

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Mother of God.

How does the AI even manage that production?
 

Lordban

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Rather decently, actually, but in large part because the AI has bonuses to production in general, and -50% on the costs of all its armor.
 
Spanish Civil What?

Lordban

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* *
Hendaye, on the Franco-Spanish border; January 25th, 1937

As you can see, this is a picture of Hitler and Franco walking side-by-side in a French railway station. Yes, Hitler himself made the voyage to congratulate the Caudillo for achieving victory in the Spanish Civil War. It was a precautionary measure, really, the Führer likes travelling by plane, and people who annoy Franco have a strange habit of dying in plane crashes.

Franco: Welcome, Mister Hitler! It is such a great pleasure to see you.

Hitler: Yes, well, the emergence of fascism in a great European nation is always something to celebrate.

Franco: Which is why I arranged for us to meet in France.

Hitler: Huh?

Franco: They're going Fascist too.



Hitler, furious: What the hell? How am I supposed to justify invading fellow Fascists to the German volk?

Franco: You never know, they've got a focus to claim the Rhineland.

Hitler: I knew I should have picked Historical focuses...

Franco: Anyway, that's not why we're here. We're here to celebrate the rebirth of the great Spanish Empire after a lightning war which shocked the world.

Hitler: I'm kind-of shocked too, I thought BlackICE had mechanics to prevent an early victory in the Spanish Civil War. How did that even happen?

Franco: Remember when you said to the League of Nations you were opening a vacation resort for the Wehrmacht in Spain?

Hitler: That was not one of my finer moments, that was a BS excuse they were never going to buy.

Franco: Actually, they bought it. Nobody else sent volunteers in the war.

Hitler: Oh.

Franco: And it turns out Manstein plus three Panzerdivisions beat two Infantry plus four Militia plus Urban plus Level 6 forts easily.



Hitler: Wait a minute, we won the Spanish Civil War in six months?

Franco: Four, counting the downtime for volunteers to arrive.

Hitler: And what did you guys do?

Franco: Remember that talk you had with Neurath last summer?

Hitler: What talk?

Franco: The one where he said he'd send us equipment, we'd die using it, and you'd get army XP.

Hitler: Er...

Franco, furious: You're lucky you came in by train, I'd have loved to accidentally crash your plane!

Hitler, cringing: I could send you Neurath when he gets removed by event so you can shoot him?

Franco: You're the Führer, everything is your fault.

Hitler: Damn you, Podcat, why did you remove the mechanics to blame Canada from this game version?



Franco: In fact, I was so angry when I found out what you wanted out of this war I almost attacked your so-called tourists right then and there!

Hitler: Why didn't you?

Franco: Because they killed or captured three hundred thousand Republicans while we were watching from the sidelines, that's why.

Hitler: Not bad for three Panzerdivisions. Remind me to give Manstein a promotion.

Franco: And because that way your failure is complete.

Hitler: Huh?

Franco: Let's see... Keep the Italians at odds with the French and the British long enough to ally MUSSOLINI? Didn't happen.

Hitler: I can live without the Italians, they always lose their wars.

Franco: Get lots of army XP from Spaniards dying on the frontlines? Really didn't happen.

Hitler: Got just enough for a good division template, thank you.

Franco, angry: Well, thanks for the free guns anyway, I know you could have used them.

Hitler: Not really, I don't have an army worth speaking of at the moment. All I have is border guards and garrisons. Don't really need to supply those troops, they're just here for bonuses to land doctrine research.

Franco: Well, we're not joining the Axis EVER.



Hitler: That's okay, I can always annex you later.

Franco: I'll join the Allies, they'll stop you!

Hitler: France are going Fascist, remember?

Franco: The UK will beat you, you don't have an army!

Hitler: I've started to build one?



Franco: I hate you.

Hitler: Too bad I'm going home by train.

Franco: And stop cheesing, this is a realism mod!

* *

Will Franco and Hitler ever be friends? Am I actually playing this game seriously? Will @panzeroo and the BlackICE team's mod kick my ass in spite of all the cheese? Find out at some point, but certainly not in the next update!
 
Last edited:

Moser

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Way to go Manstein. You could have thrown some slow underhand pitches to the Republicans, but nope, you threw your 85 MPH breaking ball. Game over for the Pubs.
 

El Pip

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I always admire the BlackICE people, trying to force realism onto a game that was never designed for it. The main priority behind every HOI game engine is to allow Germany to win, I suspect it is built into the very fundamentals of the code, this is something you are proving with aplomb and laughs.

I also love seeing someone committed to relentlessly and deliberately shattering the fourth wall in an amusing way, so I'm enjoying this on multiple levels.
 

stnylan

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On a complete aside, I think there are two rational responses to people like Hitler. One is to go what I call "Der Untergang" route, and show Hitler's monstrosity through his humanity, if that makes sense.

The other is satire - the Great Dictator route, if you will. And this AAR does that very well indeed.
 

GulMacet

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This is one sentence I never thought I would say: I want to hear more about the fun adventures of Hitler!
 

Lordban

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Moser, yeah, that was a brutal one... I was surprised at how it went, but really, considering there's no hard attack to speak of on the Republican templates, even Panzers I and II were basically untouchable. Lots of overruns, fast and easy encirclements. The battle for Madrid was ridiculous at the end (the second one, after an event spawned Republican divisions there). I had just one annoying battle in Almeria (mountain + level 6 fort) in which it took my panzers over a month to grind down 2 militias (neither side having an attack value to speak of in that context).

Nuada Airgetlam (still no accent, sorry ^^ ), thanks! And I really should apologize to the BlackICE crew for the direction I'm taking this... ^^'

El Pip, I admire that kind of work too, and they're very dedicated to what they do. The situation I just ran into is basically the product of a leftover design decision from vanilla (SPA and SPR templates were deliberately kept very weak to give the player more influence on how the SCW goes). As to Germany being set up to win, right now, my Germany is in as good a shape as the fourth wall :p

stnylan, it makes a lot of sense, as someone who has studied the person in-depth. I'll stick with the Great Dictator approach ^^

GulMacet, alright, alright, I'll unpause the game :p
 

Lordban

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Yea, would have loved to keep that equipment for a quick invasion of [redacted] :D

C'est la vie!